1. Acute ethanol consumption in human volunteers did not appear to alter active cation fluxes by Na+,K+-ATPase, or intracellular electrolyte concentrations, in peripheral leucocytes or erythrocytes.
2. Urinary electrolyte excretion was decreased after ethanol consumption, compared with controls.
3. Neither plasma glucose nor serum insulin was altered by ethanol.
4. After ethanol consumption there was an elevation of endogenous plasma adrenaline levels. This was accompanied by a leucocytosis, which could be attributed to a raised neutrophil count.
5. The raised adrenaline levels were not associated with hypokalaemia.
6. It is possible that in vivo ethanol may prevent adrenaline-induced hypokalaemia by fluidizing the membrane and/or decreasing the affinity of β-receptors for adrenaline.